Pastoralists voice concern on leases
Concerns historic reforms to WA’s outback will be out of reach for most people on the land have been raised by a group of organisations representing the bush.
Public consultation on the State Government’s proposed reforms to the rangelands of WA began last week with a forum in Perth and will continue through the month.
The Partnership for the Outback has made a submission to the Government’s consultation which includes ensuring support for pastoralists during the transition to the proposed new lease, recognition of pastoralists who rehabilitate unproductive land, wider use of indigenous ranger groups and the potential of carbon farming.
Austin Downs Station pastoralist Tom Jackson said he was concerned about smaller players being left behind by the reforms.
“The reform program does not adequately address the need for supporting small family businesses in the rangelands, such as ours, to deal with the rangelands’ health, productivity, climate change and animal management issues that we face,” he said.
“This is a rare chance to try to get our opportunities and businesses back on track.”
Mr Jackson said he was disappointed many recommendations made in the 2012 Wendy Duncan review had not been incorporated.
Partnership member Pew Charitable Trusts WA outback manager David Mackenzie said the bush needed more people caring for it to ensure it thrived.
“It’s important that the Government’s reform doesn’t neglect the smaller players on the land — family-run stations who have a huge role to play in managing WA’s outback,” he said. Lands Minister Terry Redman said the proposed rangelands lease would improve security of tenure, increase value of pastoral leases and allow for more diverse land uses.
Mr Redman said changing the laws would encourage more people to live in the rangelands.
It is anticipated the amended Bill will be tabled by June 30.